US changes battle rules in Afghanistan | world | Hindustan Times
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US changes battle rules in Afghanistan

world Updated: Jun 23, 2009 15:18 IST

The new US commander to Afghanistan is finalising far-reaching changes in the "battle rules" so as to address the issue of civilian casualties, a major issue due to which the United States loosing popular Afghan support.

"The rules being crafted by General Stanley McChrystal are the clearest indication yet of how the new US command team in Afghanistan plans to reduce civilian fatalities, a cause of public anger against US efforts there," the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said the new rules would generally require US troops taking fire in populated areas to break contact rather than risk civilian casualties. The battle rules are expected to be released later this week.

The US officials, according to Journal, said the rules were designed to reduce the use of bombs, missiles and other
heavy weaponry in populated areas.

"They will require US forces that come under fire from militants operating out of houses and other buildings that may
contain civilians to end the engagement and leave the area, officials said," it said.

The restrictions could force commanders to be more cautious in the mission-planning stage and eschew operations likely to require operations in populated areas, according to an officer serving in Afghanistan, it said.